Computational Research Center

News and updates from the CRC

Native Dancer: Fancy Shawl Character Progress

Author: Ariann Rousu – Native Dancer Digital Artist


For the past month, I have been focusing on steps that will result in a complete Fancy Shawl dancing character for the Native Dancer Project. We learned a lot when rendering the earlier versions of the Grass Dancer in the game engine and moving forward are taking extra steps on the Fancy Shawl character, to further optimize her and her clothing in the Unreal game engine.

Through learning in the classes in the Vertex School program, I have been able to fully customize this character and her looks more completely. My goal at the end of this term is to have a complete fancy shawl dancer with braided hair, hair accessories, textured clothing, as well as have her fully in motion. I will continue to use the uDraper plug-in to maintain realism in her clothing motion.

Testing Motion

Before applying the dancing motion to the test character, the xsens skeleton data was made to align with the metahuman skeleton. This is essential because we will be using a metahuman skeleton for the final character. From there I was able to test the dancing in the Unreal Engine on a basic metahuman. Seeing the dancing before completing the character was helpful, as it allows me to plan out my next steps when sculpting. Below you can see what that looked like.

Character Customization

To further customize this character outside of metahuman, I have sculpted new features using zBrush and Maya. In a similar way I have rebuilt her braided hair to fit her head shape more appropriately. Additionally, I am in the process of detailing her hair accessories and will be adding additional pieces to her overall look using sculpting techniques. You can see a preview of where I am with this process below.

After sculpting and creating this high-poly version of the complete Fancy Shawl character, I will be creating a low-poly version of her. Then I will overlay the high-poly sculpted version on the low-poly version, resulting in a detailed low-poly of the character. With this, the whole scene should run faster and more smoothly in the game engine, allowing more detail to be added to the characters while saving computing power on rendering. After Completing the fancy shawl character, I will revisit the grass dancer, to optimize him with a low-poly version while updating him with more accessories.